Feb 9, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - The Weekly Graphic Novel: Week 33 - Swarm v.2, 2006

The triumphant return of the weekly graphic novel, after a short hiatus. I was fortunate enough to get a couple of magazine boxes full of erotic graphic novels a few weeks back, so I'll be drawing my weekly GN reads from those for the next couple of months. You've been warned!


I know of Patrick Conlon's work only through his collaboration with my favourite erotic illustrator/storyteller Michael Manning. The two worked on a series called Tranceptor, which I only have one volume of, but it was a lush, strange, and titillating future world of dominatrixes and pony-girls.

Conlon's solo piece is another far future piece, in which the human race have evolved (devolved?) into a hive-like species, ruled over by a buxom and apparently very horny Queen. The story seems to revolve around the arrival of a creature that eats planets, and the old Queen's attempts to educate the new Queen in the ways she can satisfy the "hunger" of the Planet Eater. That education, of course, involves lots and lots and lots of sex.

When I read an erotic graphic novel, the first thing I look for is whether or not we can consider the piece to be sex positive. There's an awful lot out there that's simply male power fantasy, verging on rape. I try to be very careful about what I read when it comes to erotica, but, as with all the other genres I explore, there's bad and good, and the whole point of this project is to read it all.

Thankfully, Conlon's piece is quite well done. The power in the "human" society obviously rests with the Queen, and her ability to manipulate her workers while also pleasuring them paints an interesting picture of the links between sex and power - it's presented, however, from a vantage we rarely see, in that all the sexual power is located with the female. Conlon's art is quite lovely, though it does seem that the Queens are bred for their rather pronounced...endowments. The pity of it is that the story doesn't seem to have continued, and ends in this volume with the arrival of the Planet Eater in a starship that dwarfs the planet. Worry not, though. If the skills that the new Queen demonstrated in the pages of this book are anything to go by, the Planet Eater will be quite sated.

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